Alcohol Addiction Short-Term Effects

Alcohol has many different effects on both the brain and the body in varying degrees. Alcohol affects each individual differently. While there may be similar short-term effects, the long-term effects of alcohol addiction can vary greatly.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


The amount of alcohol it takes for any person to become addicted varies greatly depending on why they began drinking, their body weight, metabolism speed, and more.

However, it is well-documented that drinking alcohol for any prolonged period of time—even moderately—can lead to mental and emotional attachments to the substance. Alcohol can affect a person in both the short-term and long-term.

In turn, this attachment can lead to binge drinking and other mental health problems which contribute to the facilitation of alcohol use disorder in the person therein.

Alcohol addiction has many short-term effects, such as inhibitions to cognitive function, memory loss, involuntary shakes and tremors, and more.

Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Addiction

Some short-term effects of alcohol addiction include both physical and mental health conditions.

For instance, someone with diabetes or a blood pressure disease may experience an increased risk of alcohol-induced health complications due to underlying factors.

Additionally, alcohol withdrawal symptoms may begin to present themselves, even if the person does not meet the standard criteria for an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Some of the symptoms of alcohol dependence include an attachment to alcohol, changing or rearranging work or social life schedules to accommodate alcohol consumption, and more.

Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On Behavior

There are different criteria for managing or measuring the short-term effects of heavy drinking or alcohol consumption on someone’s behavior.

For instance, there exists a distinction between overconsumption, abuse, and standard heavy drinking, all of which have different effects on a person’s behavioral health.

Overconsumption is not necessarily indicative of alcohol addiction, and can present itself simply as a ‘night of too much fun.’

Effects of alcohol overconsumption include:

  • impairment in vision, perception, and intellect
  • slowed reflexes
  • loss of balance
  • nausea or vomiting

Some short-term behavioral effects caused by excessive alcohol intake are:

  • secretive behavior
  • alcohol-induced insomnia
  • slow reaction times
  • dangerous, vicious, or aggressive behavior
  • manic personality changes
  • relationship problems
  • impulsivity and reckless behavior
  • changing schedules in order to drink alcohol
  • missing school or work due to dependency issues or prolonged hangover symptoms
  • increased chance of financial anxiety and monetary problems

Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Body

Alcohol’s effect on the body causes a person to experience a plethora of ‘minor’ symptoms, but repeated and/or prolonged experience of these symptoms can potentially signify an AUD.

Some of these bodily side effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • ‘hangover’ symptoms from a night of heavy drinking
  • nausea and vomiting
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • decreased blood sugar
  • high blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • ‘hangxiety’, which is a novel term for anxiety symptoms caused by an irregular distribution or production of stress chemicals, leading to physical anxiety symptoms
  • dehydration
  • headaches

Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Brain

Alcohol interacts with the brain’s central nervous system and directly bypasses the brain’s information and communication pathways—clinically dubbed ‘neurotransmitters.’

Rapid and unchecked consumption of alcohol can induce confusion, loss of balance, changes in perceptive function, seizures, and more.

What Are Some Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol Addiction?

The long-term effects of alcohol addiction can be extremely serious and potentially life-threatening.

Permanent brain damage, liver diseases such as cirrhosis and cardiovascular damage, and alcoholic hepatitis are all among the long-term effects of alcohol addiction.

Other long-term effects of alcohol abuse include:

  • damage to the immune system
  • yellowed skin
  • compounding liver damage and poisoning
  • ulcers
  • heart disease
  • mental health problems
  • alcohol-induced pancreas inflammation disease, known as alcoholic pancreatitis

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Abuse

There are many treatment programs available to people seeking recovery from alcohol abuse.

Some of these include:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
  • alcohol detox
  • therapy and counseling
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • educational and vocational groups
  • partial hospitalization programs (PHP)

Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for ongoing alcohol abuse, give our free helpline a call to discuss enrollment at Bedrock Recovery Center.

We offer comprehensive addiction treatment plans for alcohol and other types of substance abuse. Our care plans involve 24-hour monitoring, behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based treatment options.

Recovery can start with just a phone call. Connect with us today to learn more.

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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